Cameras good for capturing outdoor memoriesOne Sunday afternoon in the mid-1980s, I was out in the back yard listening to the Twins on the radio when I discovered a robin nest on a low-hanging branch. There was nothing special about the robin, tree or day, but the reason I still remember the occasion is that my dad gave me the OK to take one quick snapshot of the bird on the nest with the Polaroid camera.
By: By Doug Leier, North Dakota Outdoors, The Jamestown Sun
One Sunday afternoon in the mid-1980s, I was out in the back yard listening to the Twins on the radio when I discovered a robin nest on a low-hanging branch.
There was nothing special about the robin, tree or day, but the reason I still remember the occasion is that my dad gave me the OK to take one quick snapshot of the bird on the nest with the Polaroid camera.
With the press of a button, the moment was etched in time, the camera whirring as it ejected the sturdy photo card on which the image developed like magic before your eyes. The Polaroid’s novelty was that it produced an almost instant print.
The tradeoffs were that each print was relatively expensive compared to those from the film you sent in through the local drug store, and the image quality was usually not as good either.
That said, it was easy point-and-shoot photography, though my mental image was clearer and brighter than the picture, and that’s still the case some 25 years later.
Over the years, I’ve marveled at the skill and ability of wildlife photographers who actually produce images that are as clear and as bright as my mental image of that robin.
If you’ve never attempted your hand at amateur outdoor photography, you may not appreciate the steps leading up to a successful hunt for the perfect picture.
You need to be in the right place at the right time, similar to hunting, but even when an animal is in perfect position, weather and sky conditions can wreck a photo opportunity quicker than an off-timed sneeze. It’s those variables that make me appreciate even more the final results of exceptional outdoor photography.
I’ve tried and tried and even in this digital age, the final result is similar to shooting a firearm. The camera or gun is seldom to blame for a poor shot. More practice and preparation would generate better results.
Those who have invested a little more time, patience and practice — or who by simple luck stumbled upon a great photo opportunity — might be interested in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest, which is now accepting entries.
The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects.
The Game and Fish Department will publish winning photographs in its North Dakota Outdoors magazine, and as part of the magazine on the Department’s web site.
Contest entries are limited to 5x7-inch or larger color prints, or digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Pick our your favorite images taken in North Dakota and give it a try.
Send emailed digital photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Digital submissions can be either original digital photographs, or scans made from prints or slides/transparencies. Mail photo disks C/O Patrick T. Isakson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, N.D., 58501-5095.
Deadline for submitting photos is Sept. 30, and more contest details are available on the Game and Fish web site at gf.nd.gov.
I’ll go out on a limb and predict the winner will not be listed as, “taken with a Polaroid in LaMoure County, circa 1984.”
Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Department. He can be reached by email: email@example.com